|Posted on June 13, 2016 at 1:10 PM|
What's important to know when buying a bridal gown "off the rack."
When it comes to my boutique, the majority of my brides purchase their gown off the rack. Here's a few tips and FYI's for anyone who decides to shop consignment or off the rack.
1. Samples dresses are rarely perfect. They may not have had a bride but they have had a shop life. Be prepared for minor imperfections. Things like loose beads, random strings, faint marks inside and out side of the dress due to makeup, scuff marks from being stepped on or dragging on the floor. These very reasons are why the $1800 Maggie Sottero selling at “regular” bridal shops is now priced below $1000. Most of the imperfections can be fixed during alterations and there for they shouldn't be a deal breaker for the bride.
2. Dresses (veils, shoes and headpieces) that have had brides once before have definitely seen better days. Usually the hems and trains have dirt, grass stains or foot prints. Sometimes you'll find that the seams have been let out or taken in, makeup stains and minor rips (especially in organza or tulle) and for all these reasons is why the Maggie Sottero that usually retails for $1800 new and will sell as a sample for $1000 is now selling for $600. Again, most of the imperfections can be taken care of at the time of alterations if they haven't been done before hitting the racks. We are quite picky about the gowns we place on consignment but from time to time we accept a gown that needs a little bit of TLC - again, all of this should not be a deal breaker for the new bride.
3. Sizing: Ladies it's important to purchase a gown that fairly close to your bridal size. Sometimes a seamstress will alter a gown that was not purchased at our boutique and has to bring it in SEVERAL sizes. This can be costly for the bride and require more then the usual amount of alterations appointments. Which can take away from more time from work or other activities because now you have to visit us for alterations 4, 5 or 6 times. If the gown is more than 2 or 3 sizes larger than your bridal size take caution in the purchase and talk to a seamstress before pulling the trigger. If you have to take I'm a dress 4+ sizes it can and probably will alter the entire look of the dress. From the bust down to the hem may need to be reconstructed. All of this info is completely dependent on the gown a simple chiffon bridal with no beading or lace is easier to alter than a bridal gown that is fully beaded and has lace.
4.Alterations: Whether you purchase a gown off the rack or order a brand new dress directly from the manufacture 95% of brides still need alterations. You can expect a minimum of 3 bridal alterations appointments for a gown that is your size or close to it. You will have your initial appointment when the seamstress will measure and pin your dress for sizing. At your second appointment you will try on to see if it fits perfect or needs a little more work (most do.) The third appointment is USUALLY when the bride can take home her gown! Again, if it's a dress that's being taken in several sizes or needs any custom work like adding sleeves, belts, zipper to corsets etc; it can require a fourth appointment. So please keep this in mind when shopping. You are not OK with driving long distance 3-4 times to get your dress altered you may want to shop close to home.
I hope some of this information is helpful to you!